OZO Kandy.

The new OZO hotel in Kandy is already the most modern place to stay in Kandy. With 122 rooms, it’s one of the biggest places in the city center and it’s definitely the newest, having opened on May 1st. They have comfortable, affordable rooms, great views, a rooftop bar, and are a welcome addition to the hill city.

The Location/Ambience

The main impression I got walking into the hotel was one of surprise. I’ll probably use the word a lot in this review, but the OZO Kandy just feels modern. You can see the Sri Dalada Maligawa from the back patio but everything else is a completely modern city hotel. There’s iPad check-in, a full restaurant, rooftop bar and the rooms are equipped with all the modern essentials – comfortable bedding, black-out curtains, TVs that swivel out and have weather and bill information, etc.

It’s a chic, modern (I warned you) city hotel right in the middle of Kandy, a city which isn’t known for drastic change.

Another impression I got was that this place was big. At 122 rooms it’s one of the biggest in the city and they’ve got a good hunk of land just off the main lake. It’s about 5-10 minutes from the main bus stand or train station, even given Kandy’s notorious traffic.

The Rooms

From Jetwing’s J brand to Cinnamon Red, Sri Lanka has been part of the global trend towards hotels which do a few things very well and at an affordable price point. Their opening rates start at $85 (about Rs. 11,000). What you get are modern rooms with excellent bathrooms, beds, sheets, curtains and connectivity For me the most important things in a hotel are the bathroom and the beds, and this is where they seem to have focused. Connectivity is also a must, and you can tell that OZO Kandy is modern here. In addition to Wi-Fi everywhere, you have HDMI and USB inputs into the TV and iMacs in the lobby downstairs.

The beds are big, comfortable and have plugs where you need them and everything makes for a good nights sleep. Some of the rooms also have balconies which can afford a great view across the lake, all the way to the golden dome of Sri Dalada Maligawa.

The Food/Drink

Kandy actually doesn’t have many dining options. Based on first impressions, we’d recommend the OZO’s EAT restaurant as a restaurant in its own right. We started with a Caprese salad. I honestly don’t expect much from hotel food, but this was excellent, good hunks of mozzarella offset with soft tomato and salty anchovy, all with a generous amount of balsamic.

For a main I tried a deconstructed Jaffna style lamb, served on a sort of kiribath and topped with slivers of papadum. Savory and delicious. For dessert they even managed a good baked cheesecake – a rarity in Sri Lanka.

Another draw even if you’re an outside guest is the rooftop bar – BOMMU.  While they don’t have a liquor license as of press time we assume it’s forthcoming. Kandy has even less bars than restaurants and this is a great option. It’s big and the views are beautiful.

Service

It’s hard to gauge service from literally the first day of opening, but the signs are good. There’s a good amount of staff and they’re all polite and competent. OZO is an international chain with a lot of experience and they have experience in Sri Lanka now as well.

The service levels they offer are different (it’s not a room-service sort of place) but they do have quick sandwiches and take-away stuff on the first floor, a big tablet with a custom written city guide and access to your bill and other information through the in-room TV. Seems efficient.

Conclusion

OZO Kandy is a welcome addition to the city. It’s a full modern hotel with a compelling restaurant and bar as well. We’d recommend it for staying or just dropping in for a meal or a gander at the view across the lake.

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